Product Manager Day 123: It’s not you sir, mister user

If a user feels stupid for not being able to use a product, it’s as much a failure of the product as of the user’s understanding.

I recall being somewhat snobbish about people who used “inferior” products just because they were more intuitive – my Creative mp3 player can play a radio, edit a playlist on the fly, can your iPod do that? Now I know better, a few iPhones later.

I’ve the luxury of working on a internal tool – my users can’t ignore it because there is top-down pressure. Most users (thankfully?) do mince their words when they realise you’re working on a product they dread having to use. Some take it to an extreme – that it’s a fault of theirs for not “getting it“. But that’s something that concerns me, and something I want to change – the pinnacle should be that anyone (even a 6-year old, wink wink) can “get it“.

And that boils down to more time on rethinking the user experience. I’m sure it’s possible even for really complex products (see “Progressive Reduction” could mean simpler, friendlier apps by Co.Labs). It’s tougher to justify UX changes when you have limited resources – especially when you have limited test runway for them. But I refuse to believe that this product can’t have an awesome UX.


I jumped from Product Marketing to Product Management at Zalora recently. These posts represent a journal of my learnings and reflections – you can keep track of my journey by joining the mailing list here.

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